September 26, 2016

Fresh calls for Govt to release Rodney CoI Report

– JWRC concerned at PNC, other parties’ deafening silence on findings

The David Granger-led A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition Government has again come under pressure to release the report produced by the three-member Commission of Inquiry (CoI) which completed probing the June 1980 assassination of world renowned Guyanese political scholar and historian Dr Walter Rodney.

Dr Walter Rodney

Dr Walter Rodney

President David Granger

President David Granger

The CoI submitted its final report to the government almost a month ago and subsequently, President Granger promised that cabinet would study itfter which it will be made public.
However, the report has not been officially released, but a copy was leaked to the media, which showed the Dr Rodney’s assassination was pinned to the People’s National Congress (now People’s National Congress Reform) which is led by President Granger.
Visibly frustrated at government’s reluctance to make the document public, the Justice for Walter Rodney Committee (JWRC) in a statement Monday again called for the  immediate release of the report.
“The report should immediately be made public, and it is our considered opinion that the Ministry of the Presidency should give the public and those concerned a timetable on when the report will be sent to the family and to all counsels representing parties at the inquiry, when it will be tabled in parliament, and when it will be published…,” the JWRC said.
The group said any further delay in the release of the report will only open its contents to misinformed speculation as represented by letters and comments appearing in the press.
The circumstances of the politics of the unnatural death of Dr Rodney, and the politics of the decisions surrounding the holding of the inquiry should not cloud the good name of the Office of the President, the committee said.
It added that the commission was a presidential one and therefore the Presidency must fulfil the associating constitutional, moral and public responsibilities.

“Among these is to reach out to aggrieved parties. The Presidency must stand above the fray. It is of concern to us, as it should be to any concerned person or organisation that up to this moment the report has not been received by the Widow and family of Walter Rodney, and counsels representing all parties at the inquiry,” the group said.

Silence of PNCR, WPA
The group said it has noted the defeating silence of parties within the coalition.
It is important to note that the PNCR is the largest stakeholder in the coalition, while Dr Rodney’s Working People’s Alliance (WPA) is also a member of the coalition.
There has been no official statement from either the PNCR or the WPA since the submission of the report.
“While we commend the President for encouraging the parties within the coalition to study the report and possibly speak, we are concerned that none of these parties have spoken,” the JWRC stated.
The group also condemned the efforts by persons associated closely with the government who it said continued to speak disparagingly of the report.
It is important to note that President Granger himself had described the report as highly “flawed.”
“I would like to say that the report is very badly flawed in many respects. From the start we realised that the Commission was paying a lot of attention to hearsay evidence and the most glaring example of the flaw in the Commission’s report is the fact that they decided to accept the evidence of a convict,” the President had said.
The Walter Rodney Commission of Inquiry was established on June 13, 2013 by then president Donald Ramotar following a direct request from the Rodney Family, particularly his widow Patricia Rodney.
On June 13, 1980, Walter Anthony Rodney was killed by a bomb blast in Georgetown, Guyana. His death has been called an assassination based on the known facts and circumstances surrounding his death.

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